Mexico – Driving me crazy – You’re crazy

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Well it’s been four (4) full years of living here at Roberto’s Bungalows in San Pancho and driving full time here in Mexico.

Let me tell you a story that I can’t get out of my mind. A friend and I decided to drive with the wives to San Sebastian which is up in the mountains a few hours away. My friend is a school bus driver and he asked if he could drive, so I thought it would be cool and let him drive.

We take off all happy and excited about our road trip and he tells us that a local Gringo friend from our village let him know some good tips on driving in the area. He tells us that she said if we come upon federal police and Military at road blocks to just drive through and wave and smile and don’t make too much eye contact. He says his friend informed him that they are looking for Cartel members and drugs and not grey haired old American tourist folks.

I get real scared thinking maybe he got his information from the wrong Wacky Gringo. We are having a nice drive when I see up in front of us a road block stop in both directions. There are about 20 military men with machine guns on both sides of the road all looking at our car and there is a big Military truck with a dude with a huge gun mounted on the back of a pickup pointed at the cars going by. My friend Dan says “ok everyone smile and wave and I’ll just drive through.”

Thoughts of Bonnie and Clyde and millions of bullets piercing my body race through my head and I think I passed out, but the next thing I know is we are past the stop. I do remember that I was waving and smiling like I was a little insane thinking it might help. I told Dan that maybe if there was another road stop that we should probably stop. He said NO we’re good.

In about 20 minutes we approach another one and this time there is a cop with a machine gun standing in the middle of the lane with a red flag signaling us to pull over along with the huge truck with the massive gun pointing at us and about 20 military police and there is nobody smiling.
Dan says again “ok we are not going to stop, so smile big and wave.” I know from the look on the guys face with the flag trying to get us to pull over that we are probably going to die in a flury of machine gun bullets. Dan goes around the guy and pulls into the oncoming lane and is waving and smiling and telling us to do the same and quick. The machine gun cop is waving his flag and looking pissed and we go right on by. Dan says as he speeds up don’t look back they are watching us, but they aren’t following us.

I must have not eaten any breakfast, because I didn’t crap my pants, but I did express my thoughts about how dumb I thought that last non stop was to Dan. He just smiled and said hey they probably thought we were just a car full of old stupid Americans that didn’t understand what was going on.

Well the rest of the ride I was terrified that the next road check was probably going to be the end of our lives. I knew they had probably called ahead and said “when you see the black Izuzu SUV with the four crazy waving Americans just start shooting, as they have gone through two stops without stopping.”

Well I’m here to tell you there were no more stops and we got to San Sebastián unharmed physically, but damaged mentally for life.
Do not do what we did! Stop and say hi! They are there to help fight crime!

I have since been through a few stops and have never been pulled over. They just smile and wave you through!

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The Royal Family headed to San Pancho?

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La Patrona Polo Club open soon!
I never really knew how awesome polo was until one evening a group of our guests at Roberto’s Bungalows were heading to a match at the field in town and asked us to join them. I was hooked the first game at La Patrona Polo Club
I have been taking folks from Roberto’s Bungalows out to the huge new project since it began two seasons ago on tours in the Roberto’s custom golf cart about three days a week and have seen the most beautiful transformation of land one could lay eyes on.
I thought polo was a game where the rich Prince rode around on horses and waved at the Royal family in their pretty hats. I couldn’t have been any further from the truth about the very exciting game of Polo.
The new fields are almost done and we are talking International games. There is a regulation field which if you don’t know is 3 football fields long and a football field and a half wide. The game is kinda like NHL and NFL combined with horses running at top speeds and men and women swinging big long clubs and aggressively going for the ball (and I believe the other players heads) and the goal posts with one thought… WINNING!
I am hooked on the game and wish I was 40 years younger and out there riding and playing this high stress game.
I was invited to watch a few games yesterday on the new field. I was so excited and humbled by the excitement of the huge new field and the hospitality of the people who are putting this whole thing together.
The horses are far beyond beautiful and everyone from the spectators to the riders seems so happy to be involved in this sport.
The people in charge beam with excitement and you can see by the smiles on their faces how proud they feel about this new project. I will be one of the very regular visitors with a big smile on my face during most of the International Games! I even plan on turning my Hawaiian shirts in during the games and wearing the Polo attire. Might even buy me a pair of the awesome players leather boots.
Yup I’m hooked and you will be too.
There is also a huge 4 star restaurant for your dining and drinking pleasures. The restaurant decks overlook the three different fields. The International field, the smaller field for games right at the restaurant and a beautiful night field with stadium lighting on the one side of the restaurant. There is one more field for the jumping horse shows.
This is a huge Eco project and I as a San Pancho resident and a member in our family business I couldn’t be more proud of this wonderful project.

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San Pancho……From bracelets to Falafels at the market

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Written by Vallarta Daily News! And some of me!
San Pancho Farmers Market Opens for its Winter Season
Every Tuesday – 9 AM till 1PM or so…..

Area farmers come to the market with organic fruits and vegetables, and many vendors with handmade crafts and lots of different excellent food choices!

San Pancho has kicked off their farmers market for the season, joining other municipalities in the Riviera Nayarit area hosting farmers markets this winter. San Pancho’s market joins other markets such as Sayulita, La Cruz, Bucerias, and Lo de Marcos.

This is the second year for San Pancho’s “Mercado del Sol” farmer’s market held in Plaza del Sol. The market opens every Tuesday morning at 9:00 AM, offering a day of market shopping during the week when most other local farmers markets are held on Saturday.

The Mercado del Sol farmers market currently hosts 70 venders selling organic and handmade foods, arts, fruits and vegetables from the region, and of course live music entertainment to get you in the mood for shopping in the traditional open-air markets that are best experienced in Mexico.

San Pancho is my home and a great place to live, as the peace and tranquility in the town is still uncompromised. San Francisco (San Pancho) is a unique spot, where pristine white beaches meet jungle green, and old Mexico meets a new international fusion.
A great place to stay in San Pancho is Roberto’s Bungalows

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American Burgers in Mexico

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Sound the horns and ring the bells I finally found the cheeseburger I have been roaming the streets and ducking into dark alleys looking for here in Mexico. We here at Roberto’s Bungalows love to eat! We got a tip from Chas and Eva Eller www.charlesellerstudios.com/ about an awesome burger place in Puerto Vallarta. All the tips up to this date have fallen short of a real tasty burger. You should know I have been looking for the ultimate cheeseburger for years. I started looking and even started a blog about it Back in December in 2010 in the San Francisco Bay Area. https://cookinwithearl.wordpress.com/2010/12/
I have spent many years looking for my favorite cheeseburger. For Over 35 years I was known as Cookin’ with Earl in local publications. I was always going to restaurants and doing reviews and in all my years my heart belonged to cheeseburgers. The Burger Bar in San Francisco and Taylor’s Refreshers in St. Helena (had me standing in line many days) held the top spots in the S.F. Bay Area. Well now I have one for you in Mexico called Jean’s located in Plaza Commercial real close to the airport. Hal and Eneida Hilton have opened their burger restaurant called Jean’s (named after Hal’s mother) in P.V. Let me say that the hand patties, the buttered buns grilled and crispy with the shredded lettuce and tomatoes made me melt into my stool. If that wasn’t enough we ordered a malt and a Vanilla shake that finally busted the curse of crappy shakes here in paradise. The California fries brought tears to my eyes, as I was dipping them into thousand island sauce and ketchup. Don’t go to P.V. Without making one of your stops Jean’s American Burgers

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Cirque du Soleil theme park coming to The Riviera Nayarit

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Roberto’s Bungalows which is about 25 minutes away
is proud to announce that
Cirque Du Soleil Theme Park To Open In Mexico
Cirque du Soleil has announced it’s opening a theme park in Mexico that will feature entertainment provided by the circus’ artists.

The park will be located in Nuevo Vallarta, a resort town near the larger Puerto Vallarta. It will be eveloped with theme park operator Grupo Vidanta and construction is expected to finish in 2018.

“Each experience within the entertainment park will be animated by Cirque du Soleil artists and follow a common storyline,” Cirque du Soleil and Grupo Vidanta said in a statement. The theme park “may” include a water park and nature park.

The park will have the capacity to allow 3,000 to 5,000 spectators for nightly performances. Details are still emerging, but rumor has it the plans also involve a water park and nature park. It will be set in Nuevo Vallarta, a planned community 15 minutes from the Puerto Vallarta airport and about 25 minutes from Roberto’s Bungalows in San Pancho.

Until then, Cirque fanatics can check out Joya, a performance and food show developed by Cirque du Soleil and Grupo Vidanta that debuts on Nov. 21 at the new 600-seat Vidanta Theater near the Grand Mayan Riviera Maya resort.

But the conceptual designs are sweet — the sort of eye-catching and whimsical aesthetics we’ve come to expect from Cirque du Soleil.
Gilles Ste-Croix is a Canadian entrepreneur and the vice president and co-creator of Cirque du Soleil is here with me in the blurry photo taken in San Pancho. What a great man he is, as he has shown us here in San Pancho. He has a heart for the children and this year he will put together 3 cirque de niños shows right here in San Pancho.
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Roberto’s Bungalows welcomes you to the new season!

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Well it’s the start of another season here at Roberto’s Bungalows and we are really excited.
I hope we have seen the last of the rain till next August. Although down here in the jungle you can never be sure. Last year right as soon as the holidays were upon us, so were the rain clouds and for 9 days all the folks who traveled here to get out of the cold got warm rain. They really didn’t seem to mind until it was time that they were going home without a tan. We all know everyone likes to sport a tan after a trip to the tropics, as it makes you feel so alive and healthy.
My son Ben and I have a saying and it’s “even fat looks good when it’s dark brown”. We have always fought the battle of the bulge, but we are the first to bake all day at the sight of the first sun of the season.
Well down here in San Pancho all the States people the Canadians and all the Ex Pats are flowing down the streets like fresh water. It’s so good to see all the folks who live here six months of every year come back ready for the tropical life.
After a few years down here it seems that everyone becomes family and around the first of November it feels like a family reunion that you really want to be at!
The vacationers all bring a tentative smile and little bit of a rough edge from their stressful lives. It’s so good to see them begin to relax and get comfortable with the adventure of being in another country. After three or four days they begin to feel like locals and are roaming around the village loudly saying Hola to all the people they pass by!
This year is going to be a great one with lots of music, golf, weddings, beach parties, fishing, surf contests, horseback riding, Sayulita, Festive Markets, and let’s not forget Polo. I hear the first matches of the San Pancho International Polo (La Patrona) Club will be in February.
Get ready for vacation and if you need a place to stay book now for March, April, May, June and July. We will turn you into local family! Photo credit for sky photos goes out to David Fisher photographer and music man extraordinaire. IMG_1470.JPG

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PANTS ON THE GROUND!

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Pants on the ground, pants on the ground!
Vacation in the United States

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Pants On The Ground American Idol – YouTube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMwhl4IrPNc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcN_0tkT9w8
Mar 26, 2010 – Uploaded by kiwi8589
Pants on the Ground song created by General Larry PLatt, spoofed by Jimmy Fallon as Neil …

Left Mexico went to Kansas for a week and landed in SF yesterday with my wife and my baby dog. Left Kansas and the flight was to San Diego. Lots of tans and good looking folks all in one enormous rush. The Place was packed and not many people making eye contact, as they were all on their electronic leashes. Some folks were talking on their phones as if the person they were talking to was only 100 yards away and without a megaphone. The need to yell I feel made them either feel very important or they just never looked around to see that they were annoying everyone within about a 20 yard perimeter.

When we landed we were going to get on the Bart train, and you know as well as I do that picking up someone at the SF airport on a Friday night at rush hour is a real sign of a saint, or someone who just thinks the loss of your friendship could be devastating. The trains seem a lot louder and shakier than they did a few years ago and my dog and myself felt our safety was in jeopardy at best! The look in (my dogs) eyes was probably the same look my wife was seeing in mine.

Living in Mexico is 500% more mellow compared to riding on the rapid transit system. The blend of all the different races riding is awesome and very worldly. I must say that I did have a preconceived idea that I threw out to my wife while on the plane ride and it was about the safety of traveling with all our belongings in our suitcases and riding with others. I really don’t have a fear factor myself, but traveling with my wife sometimes I feel like she just might say something to the wrong person and get my ass wooped for speaking her truth.

Well the ride was going along just fine and I was feeling like all my preconceived thoughts were way off track. Just when I felt like I think the world isn’t as bad as I think sometimes a lovely couple of sweet young men came through the doors of our train. I do believe they were put there for our entertainment. Both the young men had that certain style of clothing design that I believe was brought to the fashion world from the San Francisco Bay Area just a few years ago. Pants on the ground! That look would be wearing the pants down by their knees and their boxer shorts completely showing. The fashion does have a few drawbacks and the one that is real obvious is running from the police. Many folks think the crime rate is up, but truth be known the bad guys can’t run very fast and so many of the criminals just can’t get away from the police, so arrests are way up. I believe that style is fading, but some haven’t got the message.

Heroin is something I have seen deteriorate the soul of many and it was real apparent in these fine looking gentlemen. The one starts screaming about how he’s going home to whip his bitches ass for talking back to him and it’s time for her to learn some respect. Then he’s ranting about kicking peoples asses on the Bart train for not respecting him. Then he pulls out a black marker and starts writing on the walls and all over the seats. I was relived that it was a marker and not a knife. I look over at my wife and she is looking over at him and I know she is going to say something that should be said, but I will probably be killed, or my face drawn on. I put my face in front of hers so she didn’t have eye contact with the fine gentleman. I was sure she was going to say something or mean face him and I was a bit paranoid that he might take it wrong.

You could tell His station was coming up and it seemed like he really had much more to write so he was frantically writing. The doors opened and my families safety seemed to have been given a pardon. He jumped out and the feeling of safety came over all inside the car. I got up and did notice that after he had gotten off the train that while he was writing he had spelled more than a few words wrong. I would like to think that it must have been having to hurry up.

looking at the days events all in all it went very well and we got to our exit station safely. I went over the chain of events that had happened from the airport in Mexico, Kansas, San Diego, and San Francisco. When you have thousands of people around you who are pleasant and respectful it really is not that unusual to have a few who for some reason beyond our thoughts seem so different. I feel for the young men and pray that they stay safe and alive and that something will touch their lives and they will become men who carry the message to young men to not go down the same road.